Want to boost team productivity? Make sure your technology is user-friendly

User-friendly technology

When technology first entered the workplace, the systems IT offered were usually more advanced than their consumer counterparts. But today, the dynamic has shifted — simple and delightful consumer tech experiences have changed the game, making people reluctant to work with clunky, confusing enterprise tech offerings.

The result? If it’s difficult to use, it’s going to go unused.

For IT pros, this reality is especially important to keep in mind when evaluating new technology. Usability shouldn’t be an afterthought; we’ve found that making user-friendliness a key part of the selection process means you’re more likely to end up with a solution that employees will actually use. If a tool is intuitive, people will spend more time being productive and less time being frustrated or finding workarounds.

A recent report from Forrester Consulting shows just how important the user-friendly factor has become. Of the IT decision-makers surveyed, 90% said intuitive use is an important feature they look for when evaluating file sync and share solutions.

“High-performing consumer products that are already in the hands of many employees have set the bar higher for great user experiences,” the report notes. “An enterprise solution must meet this challenge in terms of user experience and performance to drive widespread adoption.”

Atimi, a Canadian software company that specializes in custom mobile applications — and whose clients include HBO, P90X, the New York Knicks, and the Chicago Blackhawks — experienced this firsthand.

The 120-person staff worked with a huge number of files, from client presentations to development projects, but their existing file management solution wasn’t keeping up. The system required a good amount of technical expertise to access, and added an additional layer of work just to navigate — requiring users to check in and check out of files before viewing them, for example.

Atimi needed an easier solution, one that would help employees move faster instead of slowing them down. After evaluating options, the company chose Dropbox for Business, and its simplicity made it an instant hit with the team.

“A lot of employees — especially in Sales and Marketing — had used the Dropbox desktop and mobile apps, so our rollout was easy and seamless,” says Atimi Senior Marketing Manager Sandhya Suryam.

Dropbox now serves as the central repository for all of Atimi’s files, allowing the team to quickly and easily access the most recent versions of their documents, even when they’re on the go.

“With Dropbox, all of our important files are in one central location, making it easier to keep track of things, share, and ensure that everything is backed up and safe,” says Atimi Executive Vice President and Partner Scott Michaels. “Dropbox definitely helps us work more efficiently.”

Does usability play a factor when you’re evaluating technology? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

A March 2014 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Dropbox.